With 110 different places brewing beer in Colorado, it is a great state to taste many different beers. For this reason alone, CJS reader Keithage and I have taken up a mission to visit every one of those 110 breweries and brew pubs. This past Saturday this mission took us to Boulder for a day of beer and tomfoolery.
Dagger joined us this trip and we headed to Boulder about 10:30 in the morning. When attending multiple breweries, especially in a town that’s about an hour away, it’s important to approach it like you have a drinking problem and go early.
The lady pieces didn’t want to join us, and after three minutes, before we were even out of my neighborhood, we had a whole conversation consisting entirely of movie quotes so we know why they didn’t want to come. Then thirty minutes later when we spent ten minutes on Total Recall alone, we knew exactly why they didn’t one to come.
After a fun filled car ride along the foothills, we found ourselves in Boulder, where there was some kind of street festival going on, but we assume that happens daily up there. But we rolled pass and towards the beers. Instead of attempting to waste time driving in circles tying to find a parking spot, we opted for a pay lot. Only after we paid did we notice the giant banner across the street for a garage that was free on Saturdays. FML.
After we assessed our location and cracked the code of the grid streets in our area we made our way to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Upon entering we quickly reverted to an adolescent phase and laughed and joked about BJ. I giggled a little just now when I typed it. BJ’s didn’t stand out to me in anyway. I felt like I was in an Applebee’s with less shit on the walls. We sat at the bar which faced a few large brew kettles and a TV showing women’s college fast pitch softball.
Between the three of us we got the sampler, this would be protocol for the rest of the day. Their stout is called Tatonka Stout, which means buffalo, but all we could think of was our friend from high school getting pissed drunk and screaming about tatonka and fire water in a quasi racist, yet hilarious way. After that he pulled himself in a rolling chair with his feet while yelling, “I lost my legs in Vietnam. Give me beer!” This sparked a conversation where we all agreed we’re not really down for getting drunk the way we used to. Those kinds of shenanigans are fine being held to once or twice a year. In our old age we prefer a slow gradual build and if we get drunk so be it, it is never our intention.
Their beers all tasted pretty bad save BJ’s Jeremiah Red, which we all apparently left for last. The other downside to these beers was they were warm, which would only be fine if we were in London and, actually, no, this is never fine. So we quickly swashbuckled, paid the tab, and got the fuck out of there.
Our next stop was Walnut Brewery, Boulder’s Original Brewpub according to their website. I can’t be bothered to fact check that, so we will accept it as true. We did come to find out it is owned by the same man who owns Rock Bottom and like a dozen other brew pubs throughout the state. We had a very friendly and knowledgeable bar keep at Walnut. Walnut’s bar keep was way better than the jackass at BJ’s, who liked the Red Wings a little too much for my taste.
Walnut gave us a sampler consisting of eight beers, one more than BJ’s. Not only were they at an acceptable consumption level, but the bar tender gave us his recommendation: the Indian Peaks Pale Ale. Not being fans of pale ales, we were skeptical. He didn’t disappoint as it was in fact a tasty brew. We also split an order of their “ball park pretzels.” Two huge giant, can’t emphasis their size enough, soft pretzels with a queso dipping sauce. It was a perfect food companion to the beers. At this point Dagger and I alienated Keithage a little as we talked a bit about CJS stuff. It was done mainly for the purpose of allowing us to write off the trip.
After finishing the beers at Walnut we were feeling pretty good. At that point we probably had consumed approximately 4 to 5 beers in a 90 minute time frame. So, yeah feeling pretty good. The weather was nice and we enjoyed a brisk walk to the next place.
Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery, which in my buzzed state I wanted to call “Mountain Sub Pump.” At least I have a name for my sandwich shop now. This place was packed fuller than a class in a public school, ba-zinga! Instead of us each getting a sampler we all split one which consisted of 16 different beers. Had we each done a sampler, we may have died.
We were thoroughly impressed with the beers here. From their unique tastes we could tell the brew master loves his craft and has a fantastic knowledge of flavors. Dagger and Keithage decided this was their favorite beer of the day. I enjoyed Walnut more, but these were right up there.
Despite how busy this place was, the bartenders and wait staff were extremely pleasant. We also chatted up a nice couple from Santa Barbara; they didn’t even get that upset when Dagger mixed up their college mascot with that of Santa Cruz. The only downsides to Mountain Sun Pub were the fact that it was standing room only and the scolding water from the restroom sink, which Dagger warned us of but I completely forgot about when I went to wash my hands.
After enjoying these great beers we were drunk. But we still had one, maybe two breweries to try. We had decided to hit the four that were within walking distance for sure, and maybe the other ones depending on time and drunkenness.
We were on our way to Redfish Fishhouse and Brewery when we passed The Colorado Brewing Company. A fairly new brewery that was neither on my map of Colorado Breweries nor Google’s search results for breweries in Boulder, CO. They told us they were brand new and probably wouldn’t be on my map, but then I pointed out the box stating my map was brand new. By the way, that box will always state that the map is brand new, so even in five years the map will be brand new. Yeah, two people appreciated that joke: Keithage and myself.
They said they brewed their own beers so we went to try them. This place was the absolute opposite of Mountain Sun Pub in terms of number of customers. I believe there were two other people aside from us. I honestly don’t remember what this beer tasted like. Dagger didn’t get a sample here as he was driving and needed to start sobering up. I wrote the beers down, but looking back over them doesn’t help me in the slightest. I do recall one waiter being very friendly and kind, and another waitress being cute and talking to us for a while, mainly about beer.
Between the three of us, we had spent a combined 15 years living in Fort Collins. To us Boulder was the enemy. We went there expecting to be utterly pissed off by the town and their people. The people were nothing short of splendid, so that was fantastic. The town itself exceeded our expectations. At least it did up until after we left Colorado Brewing Company.
When we left Colorado Brewing we were entirely drunk and we set out on our original task of find Redfish brewing. Still within in a grid system, and using half assed directions I wrote from Google (half assed directions that allowed us to find three other breweries mind you) we found this place damn near impossible to find. It came down to the point of checking the building addresses with the one we had written down. This lead us the realization it had the same address as Colorado Brewing Company. Redfish was gone, but had yet to be removed from Google, or my brand new map. Well, shit, strike one for Boulder.
Still hankering for more beer we decided to try Avery, which was on the other side of town. So we headed back to the car while I tried to decipher my hand writing and figure out where we needed to go. Upon arriving at the car, Dagger finds something on his windshield. It’s a fucking parking ticket. Even though we paid the maximum the machine would allow, we still parked for too long. Strike two.
After two strikes we were surly. We then attempted to locate a brewery that was hidden in a part of town that didn’t label their streets. We tried multiple times to call them, but received nothing but a voicemail. Strike three Boulder, you’re fucking out. Actually we were out. Fully pissed off now we said screw this town, we are going to try a brew pub in Lakewood, since we had to head that way any way.
The car ride back down wasn’t nearly as fun as the ride up. The way up we were full of good spirits and hopefulness. The way down we were filled with beer and anger, much like my dad if he was the kind of dad that would drink and get pissed off, but he wasn’t.
So we went to Ironworks brewpub in Green Mountain. Located next to where a movie theater we often visited in our youth used to be. Thanks to larger, stadium seated, multiplexes, the theater is no longer there. I’m sure this is a metaphor for growing up or something, but I can’t be bothered with stuff like that now.
Ironworks gave us a sampler of 7 or 8 beers. This is the part of the trip where things get real blurry. The samples all came in regular sized rocks glasses filled to the top, approximately 8 oz. For all you math whizzes out there, about 4 and ½ to 5 beers. On top of the dozen we already had.
Since this is where things get blurry here is what I can recall. Lady E and Corriander showed up. One of the beers we were drinking was called Hop Killa 1.8.7. And we wouldn’t stop talking about that. I wouldn’t shut up about eating my orange slice that came on the wheat beer. We decided to order food, and Dagger got 3 corn dogs. I ordered nachos, and to fully get how that turned out I must quote Lady E’s Facebook status, “[Lady E] was the sober one, yet was also the one that ended up with jalapeno cheese dip in her eye.” Keithage and I still want to add a million more apologies for that. Surprisingly, we left Ironwork on our own, and weren’t kicked out. Our next stop was Buffalo Wild Wings. Not fully sure why. They don’t brew their own beer, but I think we just wanted to go somewhere to watch the UFC fight.
I did a wise thing at Buffalo Wild Wings and only had one beer. Still kind of a blur, so again a list of what I can recall. I stole a boneless wing from Corriander, which was tasty but really hot and I burned my finger because I didn’t have enough sense to set it down. I missed the end of the basketball game because Dagger and I were outside engaged in a very serious and intense talk. The UFC fights seemed boring. And I got in a text message fight with Keithage.
I was dropped off at home and thought I wanted to stay up more. I lit a candle and plopped on the couch and watched a movie. I was out like a lamp. I woke up a few hours later, wondered why I was on the couch, and freaked out because I saw the candles flickering glow on the wall. I blew out the candle, went to my actual bed and continued to sleep.
The next day I was very confused as to which point I actually became drunk. I then decided I was angry at beer. Later in the day Keithage pointed out the irony of how we talked of our displeasure of getting drunk but then proceeded to get drunk. I concurred.
If this trip taught me one thing, it’s this: 94 more breweries to go, we better pace this shit out!
See ya in AA…
26 May 2009 Lee S. Hart